Colonial influence on Pakistan

Amjad Ali Siyal

British ruled the subcontinent for a long time. When Pakistan got independence from the British rule, it inherited its colonial masters’ influence. Therefore, the country was deeply influenced by the British legacy in political and economic spheres of life.
British Empire stretched its wings into the Indian subcontinent through the East India Company. With the passage of time, they replaced all their European rivals and finally overthrew the Mughal Empire to establish and consolidate their rule. They played different tactics in order to establish British rule over the entire Indian Subcontinent. They succeeded in doing so by playing the dirty tricks of “divide and rule”. Their rule ended in 1947.
After the end of British rule, two countries emerged – India and Pakistan. Pakistan was created to protect cultural, religious and political interests of Muslims of the subcontinent. Despite the freedom from the Britishers, Pakistan remained in the grip of their influence. In the political sphere, Pakistan since its inception, made no serious efforts to make its Constitution; rather Pakistan adopted Indian Act of 1935 with certain amendments as an interim Constitution. However, Pakistan took nine years to adopt its first Constitution in 1956, whereas, India did so soon after independence.
The 1956 Constitution was abrogated by Iskander Mirza in 1958; then President Ayub Khan gave the 1962 Constitution which could not survive beyond 1969. However, in 1973, Bhutto gave a unanimous Constitution to the country. Zia ulHaq held the Constitution in abeyance from 1977 to 1985 and then Pervez Musharraf led the country in his own manner from 1999 to 2008. These Generals inherited the British legacy of usurping power by the use of force.
The attitude of bureaucracy and the civil servants remains indifferent. The British colonialists introduced the civil service in the Indian subcontinent to recruit the civil servants and to use them for suppressing any rebellion arising against the colonialists. This tradition is still in practice in bureaucracy. Bureaucrats rather than being the civil servants and serving the people, are involved in malpractices disregarding their responsibilities.
Furthermore, we inherited cultural influence and the English language. Despite having been enshrined in the 1973 Constitution that “steps will be taken to make Urdu as an official language within ten years” and the Supreme Court’s recent direction to the Federal government to fulfill this Constitutional obligation, we are still running after English medium schools for our kids are feel apologetic in using our national or regional language and traits.
Though we achieved independence from the British rule, still the real independence is yet to realise. We have to get freedom from the political and cultural imperialism of the West. Find out the solutions of the problems keeping in view the indigenous demands. That is the only way towards peace and progress.
— Islamabad

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